HM | Decision 2762345
Date Published: Oct 1, 2017
OPPOSITION No B 2 762 477
HM Heizkörper GmbH & Co. KG, Wachstedter Str. 13, 37351 Dingelstädt, Germany (opponent), represented by Patentanwälte Dörner & Kötter Partg mbB, Körnerstr. 27, 58095 Hagen, Germany (professional representative)
a g a i n s t
HM-Caliskan Boru Ekleme Parcalari Insaat Ticaret Ve Pazarlama Sanayi Limited Sirketi, Ruzgarlı Agah Efendı Sokak Sevınc 1s Merkezı No:7/60 Ulus, Ankara, Turkey (applicant), represented by Esquivel Martin Pinto & Sessano European Patent And Trade Mark Attorneys, Calle de Velázquez 3 - piso 3, 28001 Madrid, Spain (professional representative)
On 14/06/2017, the Opposition Division takes the following
1. Opposition No B 2 762 477 is rejected in its entirety.
2. The opponent bears the costs, fixed at EUR 300.
The opponent filed an opposition against all the goods in Classes 6 and 11 of European Union trade mark application No 15 073 802. The opposition is based on German company name ‘H. M. Heizkörper GmbH & Co. KG’. The opponent invoked Article 8(4) EUTMR.
H. M. Heizkörper GmbH & Co. KG
Earlier non-registered sign
NON-REGISTERED MARK OR ANOTHER SIGN USED IN THE COURSE OF TRADE – ARTICLE 8(4) EUTMR
According to Article 8(4) EUTMR, upon opposition by the proprietor of a non-registered trade mark or of another sign used in the course of trade of more than mere local significance, the trade mark applied for will not be registered where and to the extent that, pursuant to the Union legislation or the law of the Member State governing that sign:
(a) rights to that sign were acquired prior to the date of application for registration of the European Union trade mark, or the date of the priority claimed for the application for registration of the European Union trade mark;
(b) that sign confers on its proprietor the right to prohibit the use of a subsequent trade mark.
Therefore, the grounds of refusal of Article 8(4) EUTMR are subject to the following requirements:
- the earlier sign must have been used in the course of trade of more than local significance prior to the filing of the contested trade mark;
- pursuant to the law governing it, prior to the filing of the contested trade mark, the opponent acquired rights to the sign on which the opposition is based, including the right to prohibit the use of a subsequent trade mark;
- the conditions under which the use of a subsequent trade mark may be prohibited are fulfilled in respect of the contested trade mark.
These conditions are cumulative. Therefore, where a sign does not satisfy one of those conditions, the opposition based on a non-registered trade mark or other signs used in the course of trade within the meaning of Article 8(4) EUTMR cannot succeed.
The condition requiring use in the course of trade is a fundamental requirement, without which the sign in question cannot enjoy any protection against the registration of a European Union trade mark, irrespective of the requirements to be met under national law in order to acquire exclusive rights.
According to Article 76(1) EUTMR, in proceedings before it the Office will examine the facts of its own motion; however, in proceedings relating to relative grounds for refusal of registration, the Office will be restricted in this examination to the facts, evidence and arguments provided by the parties and the relief sought.
It follows that the Office cannot take into account any alleged rights for which the opponent does not submit appropriate evidence.
According to Rule 19(1) EUTMIR, the Office will give the opposing party the opportunity to present the facts, evidence and arguments in support of its opposition or to complete any facts, evidence or arguments that have already been submitted together with the notice of opposition, within a time limit specified by the Office.
According to Rule 19(2) EUTMIR, within the period referred to above, the opposing party must also file proof of the existence, validity and scope of protection of its earlier mark or earlier right, as well as evidence proving its entitlement to file the opposition.
In the present case the notice of opposition was not accompanied by any evidence of use of the earlier sign in the course of trade.
On 09/09/2016 the opponent was given two months, commencing after the end of the cooling-off period, to submit the abovementioned material. This time limit expired on 14/01/2017.
The opponent did not submit any evidence of use in the course of trade of the earlier sign on which the opposition is based.
The mere fact that the sign is registered in accordance with the requirements of the respective national law, as shown in the extract from the Commercial Register A of the Local Court Jena, Germany filed with the Office on 28/09/2016, is not in itself sufficient for the application of Article 8(4) EUTMR. As mentioned above, the use requirement in Article 8(4) EUTMR applies independently of whether national law allows prohibition of a subsequent trade mark on the basis of the registration of a business identifier alone, that is, without any requirement relating to use.
Given that one of the necessary requirements of Article 8(4) EUTMR is not met, the opposition must be rejected as unfounded.
According to Article 85(1) EUTMR, the losing party in opposition proceedings must bear the fees and costs incurred by the other party.
Since the opponent is the losing party, it must bear the costs incurred by the applicant in the course of these proceedings.
According to Rule 94(3) and Rule 94(7)(d)(ii) EUTMIR, the costs to be paid to the applicant are the costs of representation which are to be fixed on the basis of the maximum rate set therein.
The Opposition Division
Cynthia DEN DEKKER
According to Article 59 EUTMR, any party adversely affected by this decision has a right to appeal against this decision. According to Article 60 EUTMR, notice of appeal must be filed in writing at the Office within two months of the date of notification of this decision. It must be filed in the language of the proceedings in which the decision subject to appeal was taken. Furthermore, a written statement of the grounds of appeal must be filed within four months of the same date. The notice of appeal will be deemed to be filed only when the appeal fee of EUR 720 has been paid.
The amount determined in the fixation of the costs may only be reviewed by a decision of the Opposition Division on request. According to Rule 94(4) EUTMIR, such a request must be filed within one month from the date of notification of this fixation of costs and will be deemed to be filed only when the review fee of EUR 100 (Annex I A(33) EUTMR) has been paid.